Tuesday, July 31, 2007

JULY 31, 2007

Ever feel like you should be getting paid more for the effort you give at work? Here are five tactics you can use to get the raise you think you deserve. . .

1) SHOW THEM PROOF. Keep a journal or notes of things you've done well at your job, and SHOW your boss this evidence in about a page worth of highlights.

2) BE DETACHED. When you go in for the meeting about your raise, you can't take things personally. . . because it's all about business. Make sure you go into the meeting with a number in mind so you can bargain.

3) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DOWNSIZING. When your company is downsizing, and you're given even MORE responsibility than you had before. . . it's the perfect time to ask for a raise, because you'll have a valid argument for why you need more money.

4) DO WHAT YOUR BOSS WANTS. Sometimes simply doing what your boss asks of you is enough when it comes to asking for a raise.

5) TRY TO GET A BETTER PACKAGE. If your boss says there's truly no chance for a raise, see if you can't get additional perks. . . like negotiating for extra vacation days or a more flexible schedule.

Here's what experts say to do when you can't fall asleep, from MSN.com...

Wear an eye mask. It'll keep your brain from detecting miniscule amounts of light. Or it'll just bother the heck out of you.

Instill a pre-sleep routine. Every night, approximately 30 minutes before you're ready to go to bed, perform a specific wind-down ritual -- read, do yoga stretches, listen to music -- whatever helps you decompress.

Replay a relaxing memory. Focusing on a favorite moment distracts you from the worries that keep you up all night.

The good ol' counting sheep method. Counting can give you the sense that you're moving deeper and deeper into slumber, so try imagining walking down a flight of stairs while you count backward from 100.

I didn't tell this story on the air today, but yesterday was rough.

First, Julie and I were entrusted with the care of our nephew, Ethan, and give kudos to Julie, she took care of business for most of the morning as I was finishing up at work.

Around 11:10 AM, we decided to take the kids to the supermarket so we could pick up some much needed groceries, and also get out of the house. Both the car seats were loaded in my stylish VW Passat, and though the fuel light was on and the fuel calculator said I had "0 miles" left in my tank, I was not worried. I knew that even when the meter hits "E", I have a good 25-30 miles to go before I actually run out of gas.

Turns out I must have used those. Or I am not good at math. Or both.

See, the supermarket trip went fine. It was the lunch outing afterward that doomed us. We were in the drive thru at the McDonalds on Coffee and Hageman and just as they were bringing our food to the window, the car died. Yes, right there at the window... during the lunch hour... with the line piling up... and two kids under the age of 3 in the car.

There's a four letter word that went through my mind at that moment, and trust me, it wasn't "fuel".

So Julie hops in the drivers seat, and I go back to push. Good thing I work out.

I motion for her to turn the car toward the gas station, but we just go straight forward. I tell her to wait with the kids while I go across the street to the gas station and bring gas back.

Wouldn't you know it? They were out of gas cans. Plan B. I get two styrofoam cups (I know, not safe) and figure I'll put one in the other (as a buffer) and fill them with gas and carry it across the street. (I had done this before with paper cups in my Promotions Director days at Clear Channel to fill a generator). Turns out, styrofoam melts instantly when touched with gas, and now there was a big puddle on the lot of the gas station. (I know, not safe) So I ran, after only using 70-cents of gas. (I hate charging things less than $10 on my credit card, but what could I do, I was out of cash).

I go back to the car and tell Julie that there are no gas cans and I may be wanted later for causing an explosion. We decide to call her Aunt Bobbie who has a gas can, and she agrees to send Grandma, who brings a gas can over to the McDonalds. It's starting to get hot, so Julie decides to take Grandma and the babies inside McDonalds while I sort out the beautiful mess I created. I go back to the gas station and now have my gas can. I put my credit card in again, and this time it takes $3 to fill the gas can... and then some. You may not realize this, but gas comes out awfully fast of the pump (I know, not safe). Gas got all over the can, which I then had to carry back to the McDonalds parking lot. I was able to fill the car just to the point where I could get it across the street and fill the rest.

After washing my hands and cleaning off the gas can in the McDonalds restroom (I know, not safe), I was back to the Shell station where, now, after making my third trip in 20 minutes and making a charge, my credit card was declined. See, this is why when people say you should only have one credit card, I laugh. They don't think about what they'd do if they ran out of gas, unsuccessfully tried to fill a styrofoam cup, then a gas can, and then their car, all in close to 100-degree heat.

Finally, the car was full, and we were ready to roll. Although I try not to drink much juice or Powerade anymore (to try and cut calories), I was stressed. I drank the biggest Powerade they had at McDonalds. (Thank you, sir, whoever you are, for deciding to bring Super Size back) The kids didn't know better, they enjoyed their ice cream and time in the air conditioning.

So here's what I learned yesterday...
#1) Kids love McDonalds
#2) When you see the gas light come on, please fill it.
#3) I pay bills mindlessly. We actually have a AAA membership. Nice.